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Create a Project Plan: Identify Your Goals and Audience

Many people aspire to write a book, but few actually achieve this goal. They don’t know where to start, or they get started but never finish.

Every writer is different and has his or her own way of working on a book. But the first thing all writers should do before starting a book is create a project plan. By setting goals and identifying your target audience, you will lay the necessary groundwork to guide you through the process of writing a book.

Identify Your Goals

Take time to think through all aspects of your goals with an honest and open mind. Write down your goals so you can revisit them throughout the writing process to keep yourself on track.

  • To get started, consider your reader. Are you writing for a small group of friends and family, specific types or groups of people or a general audience? The scope of your audience will help you identify the best path to take.
  • Our Tip

    If you want to write a book for a large audience, you’ll need to create an in-demand, marketable product. You’ll also need a strong marketing platform to help sell your book, which will require a large time and financial investment on your part.

    On the other hand, if you are writing for a small, niche audience, you have greater flexibility in the book you produce and your marketing efforts may not need to be as vast.

  • Next, consider your motivation for writing your book. Is your goal to simply reach and inspire others with your words? Do you want to earn money from your book? If you earned nothing in monetary gains from this book, would you still write it? Think about what your true motivation is.
  • After you have answered these questions and defined the goals for your book, you are ready to start thinking about more granular details of your project plan, including your target audience.

Identify Your Audience

For your plan to succeed, you need to identify your target audience. You can define your audience by interests and demographics like age, sex, education, ethnicity, occupation and lifestyle. Think about what makes your book unique — this will help you narrow your audience.

Our Tip

Think about who is most likely to be interested in your book. If you’re writing a gardening book, ask yourself if it speaks to a specific location. Is it focused on fruits and vegetables, or does it include gardening with flowers, trees and nonfood plants?

One mistake first-time authors often make is to believe that their audiences are “everyone.” Realistically, no book appeals to everyone. To effectively promote your work, you’ll need to clearly define and understand who is most likely to read your book.


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